Birds

Birds

Uganda is the richest birding country in Africa with about 1000 bird species recorded. The avifauna of Uganda includes a total of 1061 species, of which 2 are endemic and 4 are rare or accidental. Places in Uganda for birding safaris include but not limited to: Lake Bunyonyi, Lake Mburo with 315 bird species recorded, Bwindi Impenetrable forest with 350 bird species recorded, Mgahinga Gorilla Park with 184 birds, Queen Elizabeth National Park with over 600 bird species recorded, Semliki National Park with 441 birds recorded, Kidepo Valley National park with 475 birds recorded and Murchison Falls National Park with 451 bird species recorded.

The Ostrich is a flightless bird native to Africa. It is the largest living species of bird. It is distinctive in its appearance, with a long neck and legs and the ability to run at high speeds. Grebes are small to medium-large sized freshwater diving birds. They have lobed toes, and are excellent swimmers and divers. However, they have their feet placed far back on the body, making them quite ungainly on land. There are 20 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in Uganda i.e. Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis, Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus and Eared Grebe Podiceps nigricollis.

The procellariids are the main group of medium-sized 'true petrels', characterized by united nostrils with a medium septum, and a long outer functional primary. There are 75 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Uganda i.e. Antarctic Giant Petrel Macronectes giganteus (A)

Pelicans are large water birds with a distinctive pouch under the beak. As with other members of the order Pelecaniformes, they have webbed feet with four toes. There are 8 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Uganda i.e. Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus and Pink-backed Pelican Pelecanus rufescens.

The Phalacrocoracidae is a family of medium-to-large coastal, fish-eating sea-birds that includes cormorants and shags. Plumage colouration varies with the majority having mainly dark plumage, some species being black and white, and a few being colourful. There are 38 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Uganda i.e. Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo and Long-tailed Cormorant Phalacrocorax africanus.

Darters are frequently referred to as "snake-birds" because of their long thin neck, which gives a snake-like appearance when they swim with their bodies submerged. The males have black and dark brown plumage, an erectile crest on the nape and a larger bill than the female. The females have a much paler plumage especially on the neck and underparts. The darters have completely webbed feet, and their legs are short and set far back on the body. Their plumage is somewhat permeable, like that of cormorants, and they spread their wings to dry after diving. There are 4 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Uganda i.e. African Darter Anhinga rufa.

The family Ardeidae contains the bitterns, herons and egrets. Herons and egrets are medium to large sized wading birds with long necks and legs. Bitterns tend to be shorter necked and more wary. Unlike other long-necked birds suck as storks, ibises and spoonbills, members of Ardeidae fly with their necks retracted. There are 61 species worldwide and 17 species which occur in Uganda i.e Grey Heron Ardea cinerea, Black-headed Heron Ardea melanocephala, Goliath Heron Ardea goliath, Purple Heron Ardea purpurea, Great Egret Ardea alba, Black Heron Egretta ardesiaca, Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia, Little Egret Egretta garzetta, Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides, Madagascar Pond-Heron Ardeola idea, Rufous-bellied Heron Ardeola rufiventris, Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis, Striated Heron Butorides striata, Black-crowned Night-heron Nycticorax nycticorax, White-backed Night-heron Gorsachius leuconotus, Dwarf Bittern Ixobrychus sturmii and Great Bittern Botaurus stellaris.

The Hammerkop is a medium-sized bird with a long shaggy crest. The shape of its head with a curved bill and crest at the back is reminiscent of a hammer, hence its name. Its plumage is a drab brown all over i.e. Hamerkop Scopus umbretta.

Storks are large, long-legged, long-necked, wading birds with long, stout bills. Storks are mute; bill-clattering is an important mode of stork communication at the nest. Their nests can be large and may be reused for many years. Many species are migratory. There are 19 species worldwide and 8 species which occur in Uganda i.e. Yellow-billed Stork Mycteria ibis, African Openbill Anastomus lamelligerus, Black Stork Ciconia nigra, Abdim's Stork Ciconia abdimii, Woolly-necked Stork Ciconia episcopus, White Stork Ciconia ciconia, Saddle-billed Stork Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis, and Marabou Stork Leptoptilos crumeniferus. The Shoebill is a large bird related to the storks. It derives its name from its massive shoe-shaped bill i.e. Shoebill Balaeniceps rex

The Threskiornithidae is a family of large terrestrial and wading birds which includes the ibises and spoonbills. They have long, broad wings with 11 primary and about 20 secondary feathers. They are strong fliers and despite their size and weight, very capable soarers. There are 36 species worldwide and 7 species which occur in Uganda i.e. Sacred Ibis Threskiornis aethiopicus, Olive Ibis Bostrychia olivacea, Spot-breasted Ibis Bostrychia rara, Hadada Ibis Bostrychia hagedash, Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus, Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia, African Spoonbill Platalea alba.

Flamingos are gregarious wading birds, usually 3 to 5 feet high, found in both the Western and Eastern Hemispheres. They are more numerous in the latter. Flamingos filter-feed on shellfish and algae. Their oddly-shaped beaks are specially adapted to separate mud and silt from the food they consume, and are uniquely used upside-down. There are 6 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Uganda i.e. Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus and Lesser Flamingo Phoenicopterus minor.

The family Anatidae includes the ducks and most duck-like waterfowl, such as geese and swans. These are birds that are modified for an aquatic existence with webbed feet, flattened bills and feathers that are excellent at shedding water due to an oily coating. There are 131 species worldwide and 23 species which occur in Uganda.Fulvous Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna bicolor, White-faced Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna viduata, White-backed Duck Thalassornis leuconotus, Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiacus, Spur-winged Goose Plectropterus gambensis, Comb Duck Sarkidiornis melanotos, Hartlaub's Duck Pteronetta hartlaubii, African Pygmy-goose Nettapus auritus, African Black Duck Anas sparsa, Eurasian Wigeon Anas Penelope, Eurasian Teal Anas crecca, Cape Teal Anas capensis, Yellow-billed Duck Anas undulate, Northern Pintail Anas acuta, Red-billed Duck Anas erythrorhyncha, Hottentot Teal Anas hottentota, Garganey Anas querquedula, Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata, Southern Pochard Netta erythrophthalma, Common Pochard Aythya ferina, Ferruginous Pochard Aythya nyroca, Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula (A), Maccoa Duck Oxyura maccoa

These are just a few of the birds but there is so much more.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_birds_of_Uganda

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